Edward du Cann
| Edward du Cann |
Rise of Margaret Thatcher
In 1974, du Cann played a part in the events surrounding the elevation of Margaret Thatcher to the leadership of the Conservative Party. Following two narrow defeats for the Conservatives at the polls, in February and October 1974, significant disquiet in the party had developed over the leadership of Edward Heath, who had lost three elections as leader. On 14 October 1974, the executive of the 1922 Committee met at du Cann's home, amidst a good deal of press attention.
He was criticized as "incompetent" by a 1974 Department of Trade and Industry report regarding the bankrupt Keyser Ullman bank, of which he was a director. Du Cann did not put himself forward as a candidate in the leadership contest. This released key support for Margaret Thatcher, especially as another potential right-wing candidate, Keith Joseph, withdrew from any leadership attempt following a series of controversial speeches on social policy. Consequently, after defeating Heath in the first round, Thatcher emerged triumphant in the second round in early 1975, defeating a number of other candidates who would play significant roles in her subsequent premiership.
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